Late last night as I was doing a final email check before bed I got a message from my mom about my cousin's death. He's one of the cousins with whom I didn't have much of a relationship. We saw each other at major family events and the exchanges were always awkward for me. He'd had a long line of medical problems and so his death at 36, while definitely a surprise, wasn't a shock. None the less, I am saddened to hear of his loss. He was a published poet and tortured soul who did not have a fair shake on this earth.

My best memories of him where as a child, spending time visiting with them in the mountains near Yosemite. Back then he was still mostly healthy and we'd run wild through the forest, clambering up boulder formations and splashing through streams. Back then, before we all knew about what his life would hold for him, we enjoyed the carefree existence of childhood and the giggling conversation of youth. I'm going to hold on to those memories of him, pushing aside the difficulty of his illness and the way it changed who he was so completely that he frightened me at times. In death, I can choose to hold onto the good parts. I'm hoping that he'll find peace on the other side, whatever that may be for him.

Goodbye, cousin. You will be missed.

(L-R) My brother Matt, JD and Me

(L-R) My brother Matt, my cousin and Me, July 1980